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The Value of Everything

Who Makes and Who Takes from the Real Economy
Written by: Mariana Mazzucato
Narrated by: Randye Kaye
Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 30.69
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Publisher's Summary

The Value of Everything argues that American companies have for too long been valued according to the amount of wealth they capture for themselves rather than for the value they create for the economy. In fact, Pfizer, Amazon, and other companies are actually dependent on public money, spend their resources on boosting share prices and executive pay, and reap ever-expanding rewards without offering the market value. 

In her previous work, The Entrepreneurial State, Mariana Mazzucato argued that public investment has been the most significant driver of innovation and product development. The iPhone as it exists would not have been possible without government-sponsored technology like Siri and Touch ID. Yet Apple today, like numerous other companies, is engaging in a massive repurchase scheme, and for the first time has prioritized value-extraction practices such as spending to boost shareholder profit-the very initiatives that funded their software. If private companies continue down this path, they will succeed in diminishing the size of their largest and most successful investor - the state - and will destroy powerful opportunities, shrivel markets, and depress wealth.

©2018 Mariana Mazzucato (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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    3 out of 5 stars

Mind blowing! A whole new perspective!

The narrator makes this dry read bearable. Really an eye opener to the ways in which governments have been weakened and allowed businesses to extract profits from everyone.

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  • Hannah Wallis
  • 2018-09-25

Unlistenable

I am very interested in this book and Mariana's ideas but unfortunately this audiobook is unlistenable. The performance is robotic, auto-tuned and does not use vocal inflection to draw attention to important conceptual points. Disappointing.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Tormod
  • Norway
  • 2018-10-05

Important topic, but very biased analysis

Important topic and several interesting perspectives and anecdotes. Unfortunately, the analysis is tainted by exaggerated arguments (even false*, or very inaccurate at best) and unsupported claims** arising from a negative bias to the financial sector.

*Claims such as the FED/public did not get any return the bailout funds and "were happy to simply get its money back" is false. (Current profit is at $97bn - https://projects.propublica.org/bailout/) Also not sure where the figure of $125bn to bail out Goldman comes from. They did take up a TARP loan of $10bn - on same terms as loan from Warren Buffet, and for which the public earned $1.4bn in less than a year...

** It is repeatedly claimed that profit in banking and asset management is a result of monopolist margins. How such fragmented industries can be described as monopolies is hardly explained.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Listener
  • 2018-11-27

Misleading Title and Summary

IF the content reflected the title and the publisher's summary, I would have listened to the book. I listened to the 1st and 2nd chapters, the beginning of a few more. To me, a better little for the book would be: The History of Economics as it Relates to Valuation. Seriously, there is hard core economic history here.

I heard the author on a podcast and was so intrigued about the concept of corporations building off inventions, developments and investments made by the US government, that I didn't hesitate to buy the book

I'm sure this is a very fine book for the right audience - economic wonks. I really wanted to like it, but again, I listened to enough that I should have heard something that reflects the summary.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • focusreader
  • 2018-09-18

Dry, academic,nothing new. Really diaappointed.

Boring book. Much worse than book "takers and makers" . More like a college textbook.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • OregonBG
  • Portland, OR
  • 2018-10-25

Enlightening and Hopeful Economic Ideas

Coming more and more to appreciate the seemingly inescapable power of economies to shape the future destiny of humanity and the world, I wondered if and how they might be both shaped and unleashed as forces for the greater social good. Mazzucato masterfully journeys through the history of economic thought and theories of value, and reveals beautiful win-win public-private partnerships, both historical and contemporary, which together create incredible value for society, and lead to astonishing innovations (computers, internet, gps, materials science, artificial intelligence)... to name a few.

Some fascinating takeaways for me:

-Creating value involves everyone and everything in society, and societal determinations about what is valuable, is at the heart of Economics.

-Economies are like biological ecosystems, full of symbiotic relationships, diverse and able to be shaped.

-Adam Smith's idea of free markets meant, "free from rent seekers who extract, rather than help create, value."

-The public sector, not VC or PE, has historically been the primary investor during the highest risk early phases of innovation, research and experimentation, taking technological developments to the point where they are viably successful, and then VC and PE can rapidly expand and bring those innovations to market. This vital contribution of society's visionary, explorative, and risk taking potential needs to be acknowledged, valued, and encouraged in healthy economies.

-"After all, if we cannot dream of a better future, and try to make it happen, there is no real reason why we should care about value."

Tons more to explore...well worth the listen~

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Graeme Newell
  • Portland, OR United States
  • 2019-03-02

Good Book but a bit light on solutions

The author attempts to find exactly which players in the economy are productive and which are unproductive “rent collectors.” Specifically, she takes a hard look at the role of banks. Are banks providing a vital service by making capital easier to obtain or are they merely rent collectors that extract an unproductive toll for basic access to markets?

The first part of this book is what I enjoyed most. Mazzucato did a great job of clearly laying out the most important concepts of the classic economic theorists: Hume, Marx, etc. She showed how their venerable ideas have shaped the current economy.

What I didn’t like about this book was the author’s utopian expectations that the harsh realities of today’s economic problems can be solved through good intentions. Mazzucato spends a lot of time casting stones at the world’s economic troubles, but she provides few practical solutions. Too many of her solutions simply disregard the greed and selfishness inherent in free markets.

It would be great if misbehaving capitalist didn’t run much of the world economy. I’d love it if we had universal healthcare, fair elections and sustainable wages. We don’t. Those with the economic power will fight hard to keep it. So let’s be realistic and seek solutions that soberly and pragmatically acknowledge the current economy’s Machiavellian proclivities.

Mazzucato provides some fascinating insights into the “all government is bad” narrative started during the Reagan years. She shows how this message has transformed the world economy by transferring economic power to the business titans. We are returning to the economic model of the late 19th century.

In the past, government’s economic supremacy was guaranteed by the regionality of commerce. Those governments could easily control corporations in their region because moving goods and services to other regions was cost prohibitive.

But now the poorer nations of the world hunger for a piece of the international economic pie. It has forced them into a deal with the devil, offering tax breaks and lax regulations that turn corporate tax collecting into a shell game.

The author points out we are now in a transition period. If Apple doesn’t like the rules in America, it moves its profits to Ireland or any country that gives it the best deal. The G20 is a powerful start at creating equitable economic rules that might curtail the excesses of selfish capitalism, but it has a long way to go.

The everyday people who are excluded from the benefits of the world economy will continue to lose until all countries agree to a set of baseline economic rules that reign in selfish capitalism. Let’s all agree not to exploit child labor, pay workers a sustainable wage and provide basic safety conditions in the workplace.

Until we can guarantee a minimal set of standards where everyone in the world plays by the same rules, it is going to be a race to the bottom. Businesses will be free to flock to countries that give them a freehand to pay the lowest wages, pollute at will and do whatever they please.

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  • O. Buraimoh
  • 2019-02-12

Narration

Excellent book. Extremely well written but absolutely awful narration unfortunately. Will be reading, rather than listening to her next book